Germany's Evotec expands into biologics with up to $90M deal for Seattle's Just Biotherapeutics
German drug discovery company Evotec — which has a robust rolodex of biopharma partners such as Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda — is acquiring Just Biotherapeutics, a Seattle-based company focused on reducing the cost of manufacturing protein therapies, in a deal worth up to $90 million.
Founded in 2014 by former Amgen executives, Just.Bio in 2016 raised $14 million in a round of financing led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the participation of existing investors Merck, Lilly Asia Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners. Under the deal, the company gets $60 million upfront and is eligible to receive $30 million in milestone payments over the next three years.
The acquisition — expected to be consummated in the second quarter — helps broaden Evotec’s business from small molecules to biologics in therapeutic fields such as oncology, CNS, pain, inflammation, metabolics and infectious diseases, and expands the Hamburg-based company’s US footprint.
“Combining Just.Bio with Evotec creates a technological powerhouse that will fuel our long-term mission to make important biologics accessible to patients worldwide,” Just.Bio chief James Thomas said in a statement. In connection with the acquisition, Thomas will assume the role of EVP, global head, biotherapeutics, president US operations, at the combined company.